Philippe Simard, of Canada’s SimActive mapping software, started out working directly with large mapping companies – or the military. With the growth of the drone industry, however, things have changed. “We used to only work with very highly qualified firms investing millions of dollars in planes – I can still remember the point at which those clients came to us and said that they were considering drones,” says Simard. “We changed to accommodate, and we had to adapt everything. We did it gradually, starting in 2015: but now at least two thirds of the revenue is from drones. That’s fueling our growth.”
Now, SimActive is growing fast: they’ve increased staff by more than 50% in the last year to keep up with customer growth. “Drones have been a game changer for us,” says Simard. It’s a game that’s still changing. With new sensors, new drones, and new technology available, the industry keeps expanding – and software companies like SimActive are constantly evolving to stay abreast. “We’re constantly pushing R&D to stay ahead,” Simard says, “and we do that by constantly listening to the clients. They’re the ones telling us what they want to see, we’re reacting to market needs.”
SimActive sees two verticals as standing out for growth. “Mining has been a real growth area,” Simard says. “Mining companies are flying every week to do volume calculations about the material that has been taken out.”
“One application that we are hearing more and more about is construction. Construction firms want to fly the same place frequently to assess changes. That’s something that we see more and more – its’ a new technology for that industry, but they are quickly able to get up and running with a drone and with our software.”
What is SimActive doing now, during the current crisis? While they are working from home like everyone else, Simard says that they haven’t stopped. “We are open for business and supporting our clients,” says Simard.